Ever wonder why vehicle camouflage is black and white?
Ever wonder why vehicle camouflage is black and white?
7:18

Ever wonder why vehicle camouflage is black and white?

Cars
I know you've seen it before certainly inspired photos published on websites like the roadshow.com. But maybe you've even spotted it on a real vehicle being driven on public roads. Talking of course about camouflage those crazy black and white patterns that are plastered all over vehicles that are being developed. Well, there's quite a story here and I'm going to tell you about it in this video. It involves spies, crazy engineers and submarines. Yes submarines. [MUSIC] Automakers like other large organizations carefully control the flow of information, what we learn about upcoming vehicles when they debut it is on the Ticularly coordinated, it's understandable. They don't want prying eyes getting a glimpse of upcoming products before they are absolutely ready. That is where camouflage comes into play. But you think dressing a car up to look like some rolling Zebra would just attract more attention than if they painted it beige and stuck a Corolla badge on the back. If you look at it, the swirls and the patterns make it harder to really understand what you're looking at to see his body. Sherry tells me the patterns they use tend to be random because they don't want just one or two of them to be synonymous with Nissan. Now also they had to change up some of their designs in recent years and for a curious reason. However, we have had to adapt our, patterns to fit new technology. For example, we no longer use any type of pattern, that would have been vertical line not good because that could interfere with lean monitoring assists. Now the pattern that Ford has been using for a number of years now is more than just lines and random shapes. It was actually designed to play with the human eye and even confuse autofocus camera lenses. I thought it might be more effective to create a sort of a ford 3d disruptive pattern that would make. The vehicle look bumpy when it wasn't to confuse people about what they were looking at it. For a while for juice as a camouflage. It's black and white, but it's blurry. And, again, the thought was you can't focus a camera on it. But if you know where to focus, you won't have any problem. So you know, you don't focus on the camouflage but you focus on some sort of intersecting line and, you know, there's never been a problem with getting something like that in focus. Okay, but what does any of this have to do with submarine Well, I promised you boats and you are now going to get them. So the camouflage that's used on vehicles today is inspired by the so called dazzle patterns that were used on ships particularly during World War One. [BLANK_AUDIO] Dazzle camouflage was a system based on carefully tested designs applied in paint to the entire external surfaces of a ship to create an illusion of distortion. The juxtaposition of the shapes was designed to distort the outward appearance of the ship viewed from the low perspective of a submarine, periscope. Dazzle patterns made it harder to tell which way a vessel was going, the speed it was moving and even how far away it was. And all of that made it much more difficult for submarines to target and attack surface ships. And at a distance with waves and mist. I can totally see how this would confuse the eye. But what worked on ships during the Great War isn't necessary. To saralee as useful on vehicles in peacetime, the efficacy of camouflage is debatable. It depends on the lighting. So some of them actually does the opposite. Like when it's backlit. It'll show all the the character lines of the vehicle. And you wouldn't expect that but that's how it turns out. Of course, the argument could be made that camouflage just makes vehicles stand out more Blending in with traffic couldn't be a better option. GM was developing the Express minivans before they came out. They had a couple prototypes running in Death Valley. It was the best camouflage. There was a window sticker on the car. So a fake window sticker making it look like it was a new vehicle and it was just purchased and one was camouflage as a plumbing company truck. And the other one was camouflage as an airport shuttle. As you might have imagined, automakers aren't necessarily fond of spy photos. But there's not a whole lot they can do about them. At some point in the engineering process, every vehicle has to be driven on public road. We have accelerometer, we have Tons of road load inputs from all the roads in the United States. We have all of our four post testers, and we have our wind tunnels. But we still gotta do real world, we still gotta do high heat, high humidity temperature in some remote location or cold winter testing. [UNKNOWN] Happen, we're in a very competitive business. So we can't stop that, because The public wants to know what's the next big thing, the next big car or feature that's going to come out there. Our job is to protect Nissan assets as we're developing them, and yet still let our engineers work underwrote not to hinder so we got to find that right balance. Unfortunately, some product development folks are pretty protective of the vehicles they're working on which can lead to some unfortunate situations. I have been physically assaulted. I've had my nose broken. She's also accidentally been hit by a car had rocks thrown at members of her team and witnessed all kinds of crazy unsafe driving. [BLANK_AUDIO] The behavior of some engineers not withstanding, these photos can actually benefit automakers. But the PR people love it, marketing loves it. It just provides them with literally millions of dollars of free advertising. When the spy photo does happen, and they do happen, we like reading how they interpret the car and what do you think it is? They're off base by so much we did a good job or they did this right. So we, we sometimes enjoy reading how people interpret what they see. One more fun fact. Have you ever wondered why the patterns automakers use are almost always black and white? Well, obviously these two hues have the most contrast. But I've also been told that cost is a major factor just like the ink cartridges in your printer. It costs a lot more to go with color than it does with just black and white. And of course when you've got hundreds or maybe even thousands of prototype vehicles running around all over the world that can really add up. So there you go. That's the story on vehicle camouflage, complete with submarines. [MUSIC]

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